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Dr.Christopher Winfree’s Peripheral Nerve Lab a Great Success

Dr. Winfree with students in the labLast month, Dr. Christopher Winfree from the Peripheral Nerve Center held a cadaver dissection course here at Columbia’s College of Physicians and Surgeons. 

The lab concentrated on the peripheral nervous system and was open to neurosurgery residents and medical students rotating through the neurosurgery service as well as in the neurosurgery research labs.

“My hope is that this course provides a solid foundation for the surgical management of peripheral nerve disorders through hands-on exposure of the relevant surgical anatomy,” says Dr. Winfree. “Further, I want the course to provide residents with formal training in the micro-surgical techniques of peripheral nerve graft and conduit repairs.”

The lab was well attended and everyone received a detailed syllabus with photos of peripheral nerve dissection, intra-operative photos of peripheral nerve incisions and exposures, and diagrams illustrating relevant surgical anatomy to enable complication avoidance.

Dr. Winfree with students in the lab

Dr. Winfree exemplified the Columbia culture of teaching residents and students by running this comprehensive course on surgical peripheral nerve anatomy,” said Jonathan Yun, MD, 2nd year neurosurgery resident and Dr. Winfree’s course assistant. “His expertise in this sub-specialty provides for excellent training of the residents, and we are all more confident in our ability to address this subject in the clinical setting. I look forward to working with him in organizing further courses for residents and assisting him in the operating room.”

Also in attendance was 4th year neurosurgery resident Dr. Benjamin Kennedy, who said, “This course made me much more confident in approaching these cases clinically. Dr. Winfree’s course provides the opportunity to explore in three dimensions a variety of surgical approaches to the most common clinically relevant, surgically treated sites in the peripheral nervous system, with expert oversight and instruction — an invaluable experience for any surgeon who wants to truly understand this complex anatomy.”

Dr. Winfree with students in the lab

Fifth year resident,Dr. Adam Sonabend said, “For me, the peripheral nerve dissection workshop was a great opportunity to review not only anatomy, but to practice some of the key techniques involved in this exotic part of neurosurgery. Peripheral nerve is far removed from the rest of neurosurgery, as the structures, the clinical syndromes and the surgical principles are unique. Dr. Winfree did a fantastic job teaching.”

Dr. Winfree plans to offer this course to residents and medical students every year in January.

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